The simplest definition of ill health is that it is opposite of health i.e. it refers to any deviation from normal functioning or the state of complete mental, physical and social well being.
Disease, ill-health, illness and sickness need to be differentiated as they don’t imply the same meaning.
The term ill health refers to diseased condition that prevents an individual’s optimal physical, mental and social well being and functioning.
The term disease primarily refers to physiological dysfunctioning, though, these days, the term has been expanded to include within its purview, psychological dysfunctioning as well.
The term illness is a subjective state of a person who feels aware of not being well. Thus, it refers to not only the presence of a specific disease, but also to individual’s perception and behavior in response to the disease as well as the impact of the disease on the psycho-social environment.
Sickness is a state of social dysfunctioning i.e. it is a role that a person assumes when ill. It is therefore quiet possible to be victim of disease without feeling ill and to be ill without having any physical impairment.
This feeling of illness depends upon a number of personality variables like pessimistic outlook, jealousy, hostility, insecurity, lack of self control, inferiority complex, suspiciousness tendency etc.
In recent years, the term lifestyle diseases have been coined to refer to the disorders that are caused by many health damaging personal habits. Psychologists have identified a number of behavioral risk factors that increases the chance of illness. These include overeating, lack of exercise, unsafe sexual practices, drug and alcohol abuse, violence etc. Cognitive variables like attitude, beliefs and value system too play an important role in determining sickness. Interpersonal relationships, neighborhood and person’s socio-economic status are also the major determinants of this psychological state.
Mind power is the main antibody against any disease which needs to be nurtured in a fashion, so as to give an individual , an ultimate state of fitness.